Creativity is an act of leadership (redux)

Seth Godin
2 min readDec 29, 2020
And the reverse is true as well

They are two sides of the same action.

Leadership is different than management. Leaders are exploring, going to new places. Managers are enforcing, using authority to improve results. Leaders have to invent what is possible.

That’s one definition of creative work. The generous human act of doing something that might not work. Solving an interesting problem.

If you feel like an impostor, it might be because you’re comparing yourself to a manager. We want managers and craftspeople to know precisely the steps that are involved in their work, and we want them to do it flawlessly.

Leaders, on the other hand, can never be qualified, because they’ve never done this before.

And creators — creators that don’t have a fancy job or aren’t given the label of “leader” — the same thing is true for them.

You don’t need a permit or a badge or a title to be a creative. You simply need to care enough to do creative work.

To solve interesting problems.

To gain enrollment and have people willing to support you on your journey.

Leadership is voluntary. We don’t get to tell people what to do, we can merely invite them along.

The next time you’re stuck being creative, perhaps it pays to substitute the word ‘leader’. And yes, the next time you’re stuck being a leader, perhaps it makes sense to use the word ‘creator’ instead.

Neither is easy, or everyone would do it. Cut yourself some slack! But show up. More on this in my book, The Practice. [Bonus! I did two riffs today with the same title, just for fun.]



Seth Godin

Founder of altMBA and Akimbo. Daily blogger, teacher, speaker, 20 bestsellers as well...